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New Lakes in the Egyptian Desert

Four lakes formed recently in southern Egypt in an area that was previously desert. Fed by unusually high levels of rainfall and water overflowing from the Aswan High Dam on the Nile River, the first lake appeared in 1998. The Aswan's overflowing waters are channeled through an arroyo into a reservoir, as expected, but as the high rains have continued, so has the overflow. Consequently, the reservoir has grown in size and three more lakes have formed.

Authorities in Egypt estimate that, together, the lakes now hold about 700 billion cubic feet of water--one quarter the Nile's total water supply. Scientist don't know whether or not the lakes will remain, or will dry up within a few years.

In this true-color image acquired by the Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), on October 10, 2000, the lakes are the areas of dark pixels located about 50 km west of Lake Nasser.

Image by Robert Simmon, Reto Stöckli, and Brian Montgomery, NASA GSFC